Once again, an awesome turnout at each of our late March and early April cover crop workshops! We’ve already put on quite a few miles this spring and total participants present at the eight cover crop events we’ve had thus far is at 763 people!!
On March 26th we traveled to Dedham in southeast Carroll County where participants learned about cover crops and the benefits in relation to soil biology and reducing erosion on highly erodible lands from Jeff Rasawehr of Celina, Ohio. Steve Nebel, a Biotill representative from southeast Iowa, actually flew into Carroll in his own plane to speak at the workshop; and Green County farmer David Ausberger shared his views and experiences with cover crops and their importance in reaching the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
A couple early field visits had to be cancelled due to the chilly weather but eventually on March 28th we did find some green cover crops to see and even got into a root pit at the Kent Swanson farm near Red Oak. It was quite refreshing to be out in the relatively warm weather.
The April 1st event was also a great success despite the cold weather (as described in a previous blog) and the April 4th workshop in Elkader was, as expected, right in line with the others! We again got to make a field visit after indoor presentations given by NLAE research agronomist Tom Kaspar, and local area farmers Tim Recker and Gary Kregel highlighted how and why they implement cover crops in their row-crop systems. Gary even won a raffle featuring a door prize of a brand spanking new spade for having planted over 1,000 acres of cover crops in 2012! Gary was one of two who won such prizes and the spades were compliments of Center Seeds – thanks guys!
Our next cover crop event is to be held on May 22nd in Monona, also in Clayton County and will have special emphasis on the potential for grazing of cover crops. Sincere thanks to everyone who has helped to make these field days a great success! They are the product of great speakers featuring local farmers, reseachers, field agronomists, pilots and more, and have come together with the help of local NRCS staff, ISU Extension and Outreach, ILF personnel and others. Sincere thanks as well to all who have participated in these events and are pursuing/implmenting cover crops on their farms!!